Friday, April 22, 2005

Arkavathy verdict: windfall for locals

Arkavathy verdict: windfall for locals
Deccan Herald

Following the HC verdict against the project, people near the layout are happily ferrying away construction material from the sites.

If you are building a house and have any hitch in the supply of stone slab, sand and bricks, here is a way out: Just drop in at the Bangalore Development Authority’s erstwhile Arkavathy layout areas and take home as much construction materials as you want free of cost.

In fact, this is what many people are up to, following last week’s High Court verdict nullifying the layout project. People, especially the local residents, are now busy transporting construction materials worth several crores of rupees that are lying in and around 16 villages. Private lorries, tractors and bullock carts – taking away construction materials – seem to have now replaced tippers and bulldozers that were being used by the BDA contractors for layout work. “After the court order, the BDA has no rights to enter the area, nor is it in a position to initiate steps to protect its property, as it is hoping that the government will appeal before the apex court for a stay. Unless the order is stayed, the BDA cannot do anything,” official sources told Deccan Herald.

Work in progress

Under the first phase of layout formation (Rs 58.85 crore), the BDA had completed nearly 70 per cent of the work spending nearly Rs 40 crore. As levelling of earth was complete in most places, the contractors had procured large quantity of construction materials for further work, including the second phase, officials said.

Local residents are making the best use of the situation. After getting back their land, many owners have begun laying foundation for their houses.

The free availability of construction materials has only made their job easier.

In villages like Amruthahalli, Jakkur, Kempapura, Thanisandra and Venkateshapura, residents are putting up temporary sheds, while others are constructing compound walls and fences around their respective plots, under the impression that the BDA may take back their land if left vacant.

“We do not want to take any risk. They (BDA officials) may come at any moment and start the work. If there is a house built on a land, they won’t be able to take away the property easily,” Razak Pasha, who was laying foundation on his plot at Amruthahalli, said.

“I had planned to take up construction on full scale after the court order. But my friends advised me against it as my investments would go waste if the BDA gets a stay from the apex court and resumes the layout work. So, I have decided to construct a temporary shed on my property,” Rajanna of Jakkur said.

A retired army officer has fenced his plot and even installed a board warning trespassers in bold red letters.

BDA Commissioner M N Vidyashankar said he was aware that the BDA materials were being misused. “I hope the problem will be solved soon,” he added.


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